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lilysuzanne40

if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

lilysuzanne40
21 years ago

My dad remarried last year, a year after my mother died. My entire family has tried very hard to be nice and supportive, but my stepmother makes it very difficult. In discussing the problems we've had with other adult children of stepmothers, a couple of common themes have emerged.

1. Your husband has a family who he loves and who loves him. They have a right to see him (yes, sometimes without you), spend time with him and talk to him on the phone. In no way does this threaten you or the love you share. You are not owed every single second of his life. If you are insecure and jealous of his family, you may temporarily or even permanently push his family out of his life, but they will hate you and he will resent you. My stepmother rigidly controls the amount of time we spend with my father. Prior to his marriage, I talked to him a couple times a week and usually saw him every other week or so. Now, weeks go by without him returning my phone calls and I've only spent 20 minutes alone with him in nearly a year.

2. Do not, under any circumstances, dispose of, give away or even sort through, personal items belonging to your stepchildren's mother. Do not empty out picture frames or photo albums, or give away clothes, jewelry or pictures of the children's deceased mother. It is not your place to do so. If you are uncomfortable having the items around AND your spouse either won't or can't deal with them, let your stepchildren have the opportunity to do so. My stepmother has done all of those things, from sorting through my mother's things (remember, she'd only been gone a year when the new stepmother moved in), to giving away various items to emptying out picture frames and albums. You may think you have the right. You don't. And they will hate you for it.

3. Don't talk about your stepchildren behind their backs, especially to the other children. Referring to your stepgrandchildren as "little brats" is not conducive to good family relationships.

4. If your spouse is a widower, don't think you have to "compete" with the ghost of his deceased wife. You can't anyway. Even if she was the wicked witch of the west, once she's gone, all her good qualities are magnified. My mother was a wonderful woman, but to hear my stepmother tell it, my dad's life with her was sheer torture. Totally untrue, but she somehow needs to believe it.

5. Don't come into the family home and immediately begin to purge it of any trace of the "other" woman. In my case, my stepmother not only tore down our family home, she bulldozed my mother's gardens, went through every box of mementoes and family treasures and has dismissed as "junk" everything that ever belonged to my mother.

6. Don't "diss" the children's mother to them, even if you think you're being clever about it. They can see right through you and again, they're going to hate you for it. My stepmother makes statements about what a "mess" the house was when she moved in. (My dad had been alone for a year.) What a terrible housekeeper my mother was (nothing could have been further from the truth, at least when my mother wasn't dying of breast cancer.)

7. If you're so insecure and certain that his children can "make" him stop loving you, you're wrong. They can't, but you can if you exhibit mean, self-centered, spiteful, jealous or controlling behavior.

I'm sorry this is so long. My stepmother has caused such intense pain in my family. I don't know if she even realizes how much or if she cares. If you see yourself in any of the things I have said, stop now and re-evaluate your actions and reactions. Don't let temporary growing pains become irreversible error.

I'd like to be my stepmother's friend, but she's making it awfully difficult. I started out liking her, have regressed into feeling ambivalent and am very close to hating her. And it's all because of her behavior.

Comments (197)

  • lilysuzanne40
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Well put, Organic Maureen. And exactly what I was thinking, the otherside.

    Notabadstep,

    I wanted to answer something you wrote earlier. "In nuclear families, if your dad didn't call would you blame your mom? No."

    Why do I blame my stepmother about my dad's lack of communication? Because it is her fault.

    Let me explain. Both before and after my mother's death, my dad and I were very close. I talked to him on the phone at least once a week and at least half of the calls were initiated by him. We took day trips together. He loved his family and spent a lot of time with his siblings, children and grandchildren. After my stepmother came on the scene, all that ceased. To this day, she claims it's because he doesn't want to see or talk to any of us. For a long time, I believed that to be true, but have recently found out that it's because she has a hissy fit if he even mentions having contact with his family. I know this because he tells me so. We meet behind her back, in secret, because she throws screaming fits if she finds out that he has even talked with his mother. He has grandchildren he hasn't seen in years. He's only able to talk with me or see me behind her back and on the sly. I cannot explain why he stays with her, other than the fact that he made a vow and believes in trying to keep it.

    As to your specific situation, I believe your stepdaughter knows, or at least suspects, exactly how her father feels about her. She doesn't know how lucky she is to have you as a stepmother. I'd give my left arm if you were mine. I'd love to have a friendship with my stepmother. I don't expect or need her to be my mother, but it would be nice sometimes just to be able to call her and talk or ask her a question or just get some advice. She doesn't want any of that. I've tried, probably as hard as you've tried to make peace with your stepdaughter. When my dad and stepmother first met, I was only concerned that they not rush into marriage. I extended a hand of friendship, gave her gifts, wrote her cards and letters, etc. She never once said thank you or acknowledged my efforts in any way. Instead, I've been cast as the evil stepdaughter.

    That's why I post to this site. There are a lot of adult stepchildren out there who are just like me. We don't want to own our fathers. We don't want money or control or every single waking moment of his life. We want him to be happy, healthy and fulfilled. We'd just like to have a little tiny bit of his time, something that a jealous and angry woman is dead set against. My stepmother may not be the norm, but there are enough of them out there to cause unending pain.

    The fact is, my dad is nearly 70 years old. My stepmother has managed to take control of every single aspect of his life, down to having the family home put in her name. She won't even allow me and my family access to my family's home videos, recorded years before she ever came on the scene. She says it's all "hers" and that we're greedy for even wanting them or asking about them. She won't even allow access to a cedar chest of my mother's things, including her wedding dress, diary and jewelry. Sometime, perhaps soon, my dad will die. And she will be allowed to do anything she wants with him, the family home, even my mother's things.
    There won't be a thing I can do about it.

    The reason I wrote this original post is to give women who are stepmothers a window into the hearts and minds of the adult children they wish to attempt a relationship with. I'm not here to bash all stepmothers. I'd like to break down the walls between stepmothers and their adult stepchildren.

  • notwicked
    16 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    lilysuzanne40 -
    My heart goes out to you that you have lived with this horrible situation for so many years. I am happy for you that your father has come around and realized where the problem lies - with his wife.

    Like a pebble in a lake the problem continues into the future as long as you & your SM are at odds. I know this is not your fault - you have apologized and it was not accepted. I understand how hard this is to live with b/c I apologized to my SD years ago and she did not accept it. Things have progressed downhill since.

    Is there a way in which your dad would be open to going to a lawyer himself (alone) and signing something allowing you to legally recover your mother's precious items after his death? If so, you would at least have a little peace of mind in knowing that your mother's items will come to you later - if not graciously, then legally.

    Take every opportunity you can to make your time with your father good and positive - leave the SM out of the conversation and build only good-lasting memories. This woman will NEVER change!

    If you are interested in a friendly SM, please put me on your list! :)

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  • organic_maureen
    16 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Lilysuzanne,

    I'm continually amazed at how similar our stories and thoughts are. Everything you've just posted echo's as if I'm speaking. But you touched upon the most important aspect for me:

    We don't want to own our fathers. We don't want money or control or every single waking moment of his life. We want him to be happy, healthy and fulfilled.

    It's all I've ever wanted for my dad.

  • poultonfy6_hotmail_com
    12 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Yes - another 'evil' stepmum of an adult stepson here. There are most definitely two sides. My adult stepson has a breathtaking sense of entitlement and I deeply resent him and yes have grown to hate him even though I am a kind generous loving gentle person by nature and that does not come easy to me. He is systematically ruining my marriage to his father by his attitude and his father doesnt help by over protecting him to a ridiculous degree - both infantising him and villifying me by doing so. An example - my husband and I rarely eat alone but it is nice to sometimes. So we are all sat at the table and stepson sits directly opposite me. I am a slow eater and always finish last so when his dad gets up and leaves the table stepson will recline back in his chair and blatantly just sit and watch me eating - which l absolutely hate at best of times - I think to myself its like feeding time at the F******g zoo - why dont you just leave when you have finished your meal. I have looked directly at him a couple of times and he has basically just stared me out with a real smirk on his face. So one night last week we were all three sat round table and for some reason l was looking at stepsons plate - probably cos its directly opposite me and not thinking anything in particular. Husband pounced straight away though he has never ever checked his son about sitting watching someone else when he has finished - he said to me 'What??' - so l looked puzzled at him and he says 'Just wondered what you were looking at and what you were thinking' - in a very disgruntled tone. Anyone spot where my resentment has come from ??

  • shadowcat_cb_gmail_com
    12 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    lilysuzanne40, your story sounds so much like mine.

    I'm struggling with whether or not I should just severe all ties with my father due to his wife. He remarried less than a year after my mother died, and his new wife came in, took over and essentially force me out of my father's life.

    I had the same problem with all photographs and belongings of my mothers being removed by my stepmother. Anything I couldn't take was thrown out like it was garbage.

    There are actually sites out there telling women dating widowers to make getting rid of the previous wives photos and belonging a requirement of dating.

    My stepmom endlessly criticizes my mother - her decorating tastes, what she wore, what she did, the fact that she was a stay-at-home mom and mainly her parenting.

    My stepmother will not stop nitpicking everything about me. She claims that it's because I didn't have a mother growing up (because she was dying of cancer), so she now has to fulfill this role - by telling me everything she thinks is wrong with me and how she thinks she should fix it.

    The worse thing is my dad will never stand up for me. He just sits there and lets her bash me and my mom and says nothing. That's truly the worst things. If he would simply say something - tell her to cut it out, then maybe I wouldn't be so upset.

    I don't know if I should continue to put up with it. My dad won't stand up for me, he won't tell her to cut it out. But if I decide I've had enough and stop visiting and calling, my evil stepmother wins and I've lost both of my parents.

  • piggyinthemiddle
    9 years ago

    i recently decided to join this forum as I am in the same position that lilysuzanne describes and shadowcat mentions the word i am so used to ....."critisism". It doesnt cost any money to be polite and respectful of others but in a sea of emotions coming from many different angles, people lose sight of basic good manners, often in the midst of one family member feeling pitted against the other, with children used as "pawns in a chess game" and someone, yes, thats me, feeling like piggy in the middle. I like to give people benefit of the doubt when they use bullying tactics on others in the family that they themselves are needing help, being the ill ones, although really, being ill shouldnt be an excuse for being nasty and aggressive(although if my. stepmom has undiagnosed bipolar, dementia or something i am willing to forgive her acts of madness). Basically my situation is the same as Lilysuzannes without having to retell the whole story. Are our problems symptoms of my menopause (i am in my 50s) and believe me, hormones go as wild as those of any tennagers!)and these hormones could in part explain the struggles faced by parents in second or susequent marriages who are going through this stage whilst also having to deal with teens or young kids going into puberty..and its just too many rageing hormones flooding the same room? Medics define verbal abuse as anything that is said repeatedly on multiple occasions, to someone, that makes them feel awful about themselves and undermines them and robs them of their self-esteem. I routinely feel i am treated this way. Can anyone help please, what to say to a stepmother who constantly critisizes you and has NEVER paid you a single compliment? My late mother always gave someone a compliment a day, even if it was just something very simple. Comparisons are odeous, so sorry, i just did that...but I miss her. I am critisized EVERY time we meet, not just occasionally. I invited friends to a family gathering recently as i wanted a third party to "witness" the verbal, so as to prove it wasnt just "in my head". I have a large family of my own and work part time so i can earn money PLUS be there to look after my own kids going through their final exams (VERY important final years of college, not to be underestimated) AND ageing parents....i told my dad and stepmom , repeatedly, i worked part time so i could have at least SOME time to visit them in their very old age and at least see if they are o.k. too as well as having time with my own family...only to be told, when i announced i had this new part time job (which i was rather proud of having successfully interviewed for as there were many candidates for it) , how pathetic i was; only having a lowly part time job and when compared to my high flying CEO stepsister , made to feel i was below a piece of plankton floating in the sea in terms of my success in life. I actually define the word "happiness" as being true to yourself, doing what makes you happy and at the same time, respecting others . Anyone agree with me? How do you deal with repeated criticism from a stepmom if they are GLUED to their spouse, wont even pop out for a few hours without them , so you cant see their spouse aka YOUR FATHER on his own? I am getting jealous both of my stepsisters success at work (o.k. that makes me piggy) and of the fact that i cant see my dad on his own. As i have said before, it doesnt matter what age you are, you can be as miserable at 95 as you were at 5 if you are not emotionally supported. My dad wont accept there is a "problem"....but with half my family on antidepressants there obviously IS.

    Personally i would hate to get married more than once.....i would rather book into a care home with a couple of my best female friends and spend all day knitting and drinking tea! I . I am worried that the repeated verbal absue could be affecting me... after all, on my one day off work instead of cleaning the house like i should do i am on here re-reading Lilysuzannes letter so obviously it HAS affected me. For me, being part of a stepfamily is less of a pleasure, more of a pain. ....and anyone going into it should very carefully read what Lilysuzanne lists as her "tips". She doesnt say that its not possible to have a happy stepfamily life, many people DO, she just points out how quickly the "Honeymoon period" is well and trucked xxxxxx if you dont follow her "tips." Of course i would like to find a way forward for this situation to work out better in the future than it has been in the past or is in the present. But in the words of a famous song..."Do I stay or should i go now?!!! I dont want to lose contact with my dad but i dont like phoning him as she picks up the phone and starts with the verbal. I sent e mails instead but they remain unanswered, so i will have to try again with the phone...any advice on how to handle phone calls ? I used to raise my voice a bit but learned that didnt lead to a positive outcome. All i want to do is put all this unhappiness behind me and for everyone else on this forum to be in a position to do the same thing. I only want my fathers happiness....and of course my stepmothers too, if they make eachother happy. I use the word IF because whilst they are so critical of me, does that really incidate they are happy married. I am one of a number of people in her social circle who dont call home anymore. But life is too short for problems isnt it?! Surely late mothers death has taught me that. That is why i want a way to heal the rift before it becomes a gulf. before its too late....Shall i just bite the bullet and insist to meet dad one to one (but he shows signs of stress if he even has to leave her side for about 10 minutes )and simply tell him that i love him? In the midst of past years of arguing, i think i forgot to say those 3 words.

  • secretcyndi
    8 years ago

    I am so sorry for your pain. I can't imagine someone trying to obliterate my mother's memory and the sorrow it would cause. It seems like there are a lot of stepmothers who have justly earned their stepchildren's animosity. I would like to say that I am a stepmother and would never do anything to purposely hurt my husband's children.

    My husband had 2 adult children when we met (20's). His ex-wife, whom I have never met, was the cause of the divorce. Both kids acknowledge their mom is, at best, very hurtful and cruel. Seven years after their divorce was finalized (it took several years) one of her children refuses to see her (with very good reason) or let her see the grandkids. The other has minimal contact.

    I believed that if I was kind to both of them and showed them I only wanted to be a loving and supportive friend that in time we could all be a family. I've never been in this situation before and was really naive. To this day, at almost every visit or phone I am made fun of, belittled and generally treated shabbily. This is always done in small nasty ways. They gang up on me when my husband isn't in the room. I have given up so much for them. Really big things. For instance, years ago we eloped because I didn't want them to feel uncomfortable coming to a wedding (divided loyalties at that time with their mom) and I didn't want their dad to be mad at them for not coming. In the end, neither even acknowledged our wedding and it didn't change a thing. I was told they didn't want to have anything to do with me and didn't want to meet my family. I was their father's choice, not theirs. To this day, if anything is wrong, I am the scapegoat. ( I am talking about conversations I have nothing to do with and problems I have no part in.) My stepson's new girlfriend saw the way they acted and told my stepson that I did everything for them and he was terribly mean to me. My husband told me they had a huge fight and almost broke up over it. I think being told about this was the first time my husband believed how bad it was.

    I have one daughter of my own from a previous marriage who is younger and I know my husband had similar problems with her especially in the beginning. The difference is that she was forced to do things with their family and told to be kind to them. One Christmas when they came up to visit, she walked downstairs to hear my stepdaughter and her husband making fun of her behind her back. She was 15 and they were almost 30. I took her for a walk and told her they would be going home soon and I was so sorry that she heard that. My daughter has only ever been kind to both of them.

    I wanted to comment on your post because I am ready to give up. I want my husband to go see them and do things with them but without me. Not in a mean way, just make up excuses why I can't come. Really, they only want to see him anyway, so I would think they would be happy about it. I just don't want to have so much hurt in my life anymore. Reading what you said about your stepmother, I realize how far from normal their response to kindness is. For instance, I hung an equal number of photos of them and my family around our home, so they felt they were equally important. I also created albums for my husband to give them (with spaces for him to write heartfelt comments in) of pictures I got copied. In return, they just pretend I don't exist.

    All I can say is, I wish I had a stepdaughter like you.

  • colleenoz
    8 years ago

    Well, I'm sorry that both of you, secretcyndi and piggyinthemiddle have such problems with the people in your lives.

    Piggy (and I would point out that your writing would be a _lot_ easier to read if you used paragraphs; a large block of solid text is a struggle), I think you need to talk with your father and lay it on the line. "Dad, I love you very much and I want to stay in touch with you, but I feel hurt when StepMom criticises me and compares me unfavourably to her own children. You're my Dad and you should be standing up for me. If you can't tell StepMom that if she can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all, then as reluctant as I am to do it I will have to limit my contact with you because it is too hurtful." You don't have to be around toxic people.

    Secretcyndi, I'd suggest a similar approach with your husband regarding his children. Encourage him to visit them on his own as much as he likes; you don't have to be there to endure their snide remarks and you certainly don't have to put up with it in your own home. If they visit for Christmas again, let them stay in a hotel. If your husband insists they stay in your home, then you take your daughter and decamp to a hotel. Maybe then your husband will see you are serious. To be honest, as well as taking your daughter for a walk, I'd have called your stepchildren on their poor behaviour.

  • Ren Desro
    8 years ago

    I am glad I read this. Not because there are so many screwed up families, but sometimes it helps to know you're not alone. I'm in a same situation- except my step mother is another man. Reading these however, I see it makes no difference. The manipulation, control, limiting contact is a painful yet common thread. I try to be cautious, quiet, and keep myself safe from his toxicity. I feel additional apprehension due to the gay card being used to dismiss his bad/often evil behavior. The saddest part is all that my Dad is missing out on in golden years. HE is being manipulated and restricted. HE Is missing out on his grandchildren lives......

    I have no idea how to bridge the abyss. I have always tried to give space, appreciate whatever time or experiences we do get but it's exhausting and hurtful much of the time. Does anyone have good news? ??

  • piggyinthemiddle
    8 years ago

    Well a couple of my friends are stepparents. I knew they would all find happiness because they were never critical of others and treated others with respect and expected, not hoped for, the same respect back. Its just such a shame that these families dont have any surviving grandparents to see that they finally found happiness. They advised me to stand up to toxic words just as "colleenoz" has but its difficult when your self-confidence has been eroded.

    Secretcyndi, thank you for your kind comments. Yes, decamp to a lovely hotel...with your husband! Those who belittle you can take a hike all on their own and return later when they are able to be polite and respectful. Thats all we are asking.


    Now this is all written in black and white its a bit clearer to beat a good path through the jungle.



  • jcdunklin80
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    My story is a little complicated but any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am 35 now, my parents divorced when I was 16 and it was very long and messy, almost 3 years. I have a brother who is 10 years younger. My mother is paranoid schizophrenic, and my dad could no longer deal with her and left me there to do it by myself. I will skip all the awful things associated with that. My dad remarried when I was about 24 and I got married when I was 25. At first I thought it was sweet and I welcomed my stepmom with open arms. I thought it would be lovely to have a mother who was "normal". She has 3 kids of her own: Natalie, 1 year older than me, Brian, 1 year younger than me, and Brandon, 2 years younger than me. I liked them all. But slowly she started pushing her children towards my dad while pushing my brother and myself away. I never pitched a fuss over this as I thought maybe she was insecure and just wanted time for her family to settle in and adjust. But over the years things have just gotten worse. My dad is on the wealthy side... They have built, bought and sold a few very nice homes in the intervening years, but with every home they own 1 picture goes up of myself and my brother to every 8-9 of her children. In the homes themselves Natalie, Brandon, and Brian each have their own room even though they don't live with them. If my brother or myself go to stay a weekend with our dad we get assigned a guest room. We have a "family ranch" as well, but while her children each have their own room, keys to the property, and know the gate access code, which gets changed after every one of my or my brothers very rare visits, they can go anytime they please while we have to ask permission. My dad bought this property after they were married and supposedly its in a trust in all the children's names, not sure if that's true anymore. I moved with my husband to Alaska for a while and she kept discouraging him visiting me. If they take a family vacation all her kids, plus their spouses and/or boyfriends and girlfriends go. Last year it was Guatemala, looked like fun. I have never said anything about this to anyone but my nana, and I do cry to her. I have always been very nice and respectful to my SM. Unfortunately my life kinda fell apart on me these past couple of months. My marriage fell apart, not sure if it's for good or not but I came "home". I am staying with my nana right now and yesterday was the first time my SM was outright cruel and in front of some of the family. My SM brought her mother over here yesterday and organized a little Father's Day dinner. So it was my dad, SM, her mom, my nana, and my son. After dinner I got up to do the dishes and my dad said something about it, my nana kinda laughed and said that I won't let her touch the dishes anymore that I always do them. That's when my SM snorted and said " well, when you come begging, I guess you have to make amends somehow". Her mother was the only one who responded with something like, well, yea. I was mortified!!! I was extremely glad they had sat in the formal dining and couldn't see me. I began crying immediately, I finished what I could , as fast as I could, and disappeared. I wasn't even sure how much longer I could silently cry. I haven't been able to stop crying since yesterday, I immediately ran out back and threw up my dinner, I didn't even sleep last night. What's worse is they stayed the night and this morning I accidentally bumped into her and she didn't even acknowledge me! This is a new development! I don't know what to do, my dad is a grown man who deserves happiness. I don't want to be the one to throw a wrench in that.

  • jewelisfabulous
    8 years ago

    I think the issue isn't *necessarily* your stepmother, but how your Dad is allowing all this to go on. I believe I'd start with having a private conversation with him where you ask him what kind of relationship he wants to have with you? At that time, you can mention that it's hurtful you aren't included in the "family" trips and feel like you're treated as "less than" regarding access to the "family" ranch. Tell him that you'd like to feel more wanted and is he willing to help achieve that?

  • colleenoz
    8 years ago

    What jewelisfabulous said. Sadly I think the rot started when your Dad divorced your mother and left you and your brother with your mother- a paranoid schizophrenic. Seriously, who does that? If he was a caring father he would have taken custody of his children to keep them safe.

    So, I hate to say it but be prepared for your Dad to say he doesn't want a closer relationship.

    Why didn't your Nana speak up for you over the dishes issue. In her shoes I would have replied that, no, you are a wonderful and helpful granddaughter and it's lovely to have you staying. And again, here was a time when your Dad should have said your SM was out of line with her remark, as anyone making a nasty comment like that would be. But he didn't.

    I wish the best for you.

  • lilacinjust
    8 years ago

    christina, you're really in a bad spot. I'm sorry you have to settle and live in an untenable situation.

    You are a visitor in the house and that won't change. Unless your partner puts you in an iron-clad will, don't expect these alpha females to take care of you.


  • tfitz1006
    8 years ago

    Why stay? Is he going to marry you? You have no stature and he has no backbone. Can you live independently?

  • colleenoz
    8 years ago

    Christina, you're not just a visitor, you're a servant. Even a women's shelter would have to be better than your current situation. As for your "partner", he's no partner, he's an employer and a rotten one at that if he lets his daughters rule over you.

  • colleenoz
    8 years ago

    The Salvation Army runs women's shelters in South Africa for abused women- and even if it's not physical abuse, it's abuse honey; don't tell me he doesn't know he's got you over a barrel for free sex and housework.

  • lilacinjust
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Thank you for sharing the background. Culture weighs heavily in your situation.

    I hope you can find support in your community so that in the very least, you can maintain a life outside of the home and don't become completely beholden to your partner and his "girls".

    The uneven distribution of power in your situation is abusive, so please, whatever you do, do not allow yourself to be isolated.


    They are all very lucky to have you ;-)

  • tfitz1006
    8 years ago

    Do you have family you can return to, or could you stay with some of your friends?

  • jewelisfabulous
    8 years ago

    Just 6 months ago, you were not living in this situation. Where were you living and how were you supporting yourself then? Is it not possible to return to that situation? Or, to band together with the good female friends you mentioned to give you a hand up on a temporary basis? Besides cooking and sewing independently, you may find a job as an in-home domestic helper for a family in the nearest large city -- check out and call companies that place help with employing families.

  • ajnewheart
    8 years ago

    Just be happy! No such thing as a blended family! I refuse to be a step parent of "grown" children! No one is going to take away my happiness in life! When the children have been raised and put through college parenting is over! Stop chasing things that aren't there! If your BM or BD WANT to see you they will! Don't think they can't if they really wanted to! Now go enjoy your lives and if you are not enjoying it's because you don't have a life

  • jewelisfabulous
    8 years ago

    That's the most naïve post I've read in a long time.

  • colleenoz
    8 years ago

    I didn't think "naive". "Bitchy", yes, ", "self-centred", yes, but not naive. Her post on another thread is even more frightening and nasty.

  • wrn2004
    7 years ago

    I have read most of these posts and found that adult children need to move on and get a life. How many in tact families have to have Daddy in it all the time. After I got married, I spent very little time with my Mom or Dad. I mean there is the old leave and cleave. The OP sounds bitter and angry that Dad chose his probably "happy" wife, over his "destructive and unhappy" daughter. I have adult steps, and step grands, who spend time with my hubby. I just choose not to be there, as they have no respect for me whatsoever. Really sad that they can't acknowledge that they are causing friction for the Dad, and not me. I, like others will not participate in the drama that steps can cause as adults. I want to surround myself with positive, happy people and stay away from the toxic steps. Funny thing is, as soon as they realized I wasn't available for their "destructive behavior".....they found others to draw into the drama. Funny how that works. Life is too short to be drowned by others unhealthy relationships.

  • Luna De Béthencourt Medina
    7 years ago

    I'm sorry this happend but this has nothing to do with. Being a stepmum but with this woman lack of class and proper education and her husband is a whimp for allowing it. I am a stepmum. Although the stepchildren are in primary school and we have full custody. But when we moved back to the family house after the custody agreemnt was just a week after she moved out. I didn't touch anythin ever. It wasn't my house or my place to do it. But you can't teach certain things , class is one of them. I'm really sorry some people have to experience this kind of toxic people in their life but it has nothing to do with being a step mum it has to do with the kind of person you are

  • evilstep
    7 years ago

    THis is a difficult subject. Believe it or not, there isn't much on the Internet that I've been able to find about maintaining good relationships with a parent as an adult child of a difficult stepparent.

    My stepfather (which I've never called him) is one for the books. My mother's third marriage, ironically her longest, is almost 15 years with this guy. He married her job-less and has continued not working (while she finally retired five years ago), she paid off his debts to $25,000 a month before their marriage (which we found out only because of a title search), she continues to pay his first wife's alimony (which I found out through a third party as my mother won't tell me anything that might upset me), AND has made it very difficult to see my mother. We even moved 1,000 miles away eight years ago because it was too painful to be within 20 miles of her, given all that we saw of her once they married.

    Now I'm not the jealous type but he never has made any attempts to get to know me or my children, has gotten up and marched out of the room when we have visited (long ago: I haven't actually SEEN him in 11 years -- whenever I see my mother it has been when he has been away from her house for the day or night, or when she meets us elsewhere, or when I take her off for three days. This summer we actually were able to rent a place nearby so she could come and go and see three of her grandchildren.)

    It goes on and on and frankly, I have tried to share my upset with my mother over the years or details of various lies he has told her. But he always gets a pass, or an excuse, or I am told that my source of information is wrong. Yes, there is extreme denial as well as co-dependency that is off the charts!

    Access has always been an issue but one that she has allowed to be so. She is not blameless but I think she'd rather be in a toxic situation than to be alone. He is also a dry drunk, for now as far as I know, and has had a history of alcoholism (that also got him fired from his last full-time job). My mother was not aware of that when they married. He's one of those guys who, when they drink, are fun and talkative...but when they aren't drinking they are sullen, morose, pissy.

    I had FINALLY adjusted to the access issues and accepted the situation (serenity prayer as it was impossible to change) AS LONG as we had access to my mother. So we rented the cottage and last year she finally came for another visit at a holiday where we live (and she hates to travel or fly so this was huge).

    But now, just after our visit, she has been diagnosed with a very bad form of cancer. I am once again in that "will I be able to see my mother?" place of mind only this time I can't just whisk her off for a day, or a few days, or fly her to our home. I want to BE WITH her, see her, and help care for her. I am afraid that he will make that impossible and the last thing I want to do is to create more stress for my mother...and yet I'm at my breaking point with this situation. He's had her for 15 years, with very little time spent with her children or grandchildren (she even told me once that he doesn't even LIKE children). One sibling, who has no children, sees them regularly and I'm sure is aware of the distancing.

    Yes, we are very dysfunctional and there is only so much that has been in my control. I have never wanted to lose my mother in my life so I always make it easier on her. I have no idea what the outcome of this diagnosis will be: I just know that I want to be with my mother on occasion for longer stretches (and have the flexibility, and a great husband who understands, in order to be there).

    I'm also concerned about his ability to adequately care for her--both emotionally, physically, and as her health advocate. She does all of the cooking, cleaning, bill-paying, EVERYTHING! Even gardening. And I don't think she'd ever tell me if he was NOT helping her because she knows how I would react. She has a sister nearby who is just as toxic but at least does a lot for her.

    I am not a difficult person but I am not one to sit back and avoid conflict when it is necessary for some kind of resolution. This has been 15 years in the making. I know I don't have any legal grounds in any respect (we haven't even seen her will and frankly I could care less about that). I just want ACCESS going forward, esp. during a difficult, unknown time ahead for my mother with this awful cancer.

    Thanks so much for reading.

  • Cher Ron
    7 years ago

    secretcyndi and piggyinthemiddle, I would LOVE to have stepkids like you. Ones I can loveand respect and be reciprocated. Unfortunately, I don't.

  • wrn2004
    7 years ago

    I think that many times step children, as well as step parents try to "control" a new relationship. Why not just let life grow on it's own without trying to impose your will on it. My hubby spends time with his children and grands when he wants to. I spend time with my children and grands when I want to. Sometimes together, many times alone. Why is there this need to push for exactly what you once had...it is the past? Divorce or death of a parent changes everything, nothing is the same. Remarriage is even more complicated, two people bringing different ideas, traditions, and pasts into the relationship. Allow the two married people time to figure out that new life and how it all fits with the extended family. AND yes, adult children are extended family. They no longer need a Daddy or a Mommy to take care of their needs. So a new life and new beginning with everyone should emerge. If you love your parent that is remarried, allow them to be happy however that looks for them. Stop worrying about how that affects you and be happy in your life now as an adult. I know that many have stated that the OP has a awful stepmom and while I agree that some of the things SM did were not nice, changing the home to suit her certainly should not be one of them. Doesn't every woman want the home that she desires? Her changing things around may have had nothing to do with disrespecting the late wife, but rather just her preferences. I do think that if the Dad didn't want the late wifes things, they should have been boxed up and given to the children to go through, but to assume that every single action is evil may just be a perception and not reality. Every person has a responsibility in a "blended" family to try and start new every day. Yesterday is gone....leave the hurt there and try to see the person you have come to dislike as a stranger you have just met and give them another chance. If it is not to be, then release your parent from the struggle and let them have their life and just move on with your own, as hard as that might be. Life is hard, people are flawed and just doing the best they can most of the time.

  • Kim Aves
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    When I read the OP comments, I don't see a stepmother who is mean, vindictive, cruel and abusive. What I see is a woman who is mean, vindictive, cruel and abusive who also happens to be a stepmother. There is a difference.

    This woman was also probably a mean, vindictive, cruel and abusive boss and apparently a mean, vindictive, cruel and abusive wife. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that Women can be good or bad, Men can be good or bad, Aunts can be good or bad, Stepkids can be good or bad, Stepfathers can be good or bad, and Stepmothers can be good or bad, and opinions vary.

    P.S. One of the oddest things I have found in my research, is that it is not all that uncommon for one step-child (adult or not) to feel one way about a step-parent, and for another step-child from the same family to feel almost the opposite toward the same step-parent. Interesting. Just mentioning that as an aside.

  • wrn2004
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    When I read the OP comments, I don't see a stepmother who is mean, vindictive, cruel and abusive. What I see is a woman who is mean, vindictive, cruel and abusive who also happens to be a stepmother. There is a difference....

    Kim, do you think that is a fair assessment when you are only hearing one side of the issue? I think unless we have heard the SM version of events we can only "assume" that the OP was accurate in her statements. I think it is unfair for any of us to label someone based on an upset person who wants to portray their SM in the worst light. Wasn't there even a post where they wanted to change their last name.....that is just a spiteful act intended to do harm against a father who is standing by his wife side. I can tell you that I have had an extremely difficult time with my steps and had to disengage almost completely. I am sure that they would tell you that I have been the one that has caused the extremely difficult time. Most of the time these assertions come from a place of pain from hurtful situations on either side. I think that we would do well to take a deep breath and step away from situations that are painful and move forward in life.

  • Kim Aves
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Actually, wrn2004, I agree with you 100%. Sorry if my post relayed the opposite. I was trying to say that it seemed like some of the posters here were stereotyping stepmothers. For example, if the title of this post was "If I could tell Catholics of adult children anything. . .," it might have been a little more apparent the OP was just throwing a subset all into one bucket.

    And, yes, I agree we are hearing one side of the story, but that is how most blogs or posts go. What I was simply trying to say is that some people are bad, and just because they are bad, don't try to blame it on them being a SM and all SMs are bad.

    But, yes. I'm sure OP's step-mom would tell a completely different story, and that is something I hinted at with my P.S. above. I have seen situations where one step-child will insist they have an evil SM while another step-child from the same family will get along with SM great, have no problem going shopping with SM, and so on. Which implies the relationship seems to have more to do with the step's interpretation more than much else. And, this occurs even in non-step families, where one sibling thinks dad ripped them off, while another may think they have the best dad in the world.

    Anyway, sorry if you or others misunderstood. Hope I clarified that better.

  • wrn2004
    7 years ago

    Okay...sorry that I didn't catch your thoughts accurately. Steplife in general is difficult on both sides. I am sure that is why there are so many second divorces. What I don't understand personally is why adult children seem to not be able to move on in their own lives when it becomes clear to them that their Parent has for whatever reason made a choice, whether good or bad. I was an adult of divorced parents and my Dad and his new wife made it pretty clear that while my Dad still loved me he wanted a second chance at marriage.. So, while we got together occasionally, I changed my focus to my own family and moved on. We were both happy in our lives and made the adjustments that we needed to make. I just wonder how these girls feel (seems like it is mostly the girls that have the issues) will feel one day when Dad dies and there has been all this angst between them and now it is over. When all they had to do is let go and let Dad have the life that he has chosen for himself, again, whether good or bad. I sat with my Dad when he was dying and we got to tell each other how much we meant to each other. We cried and laughed and talked about old times. I am grateful to have had that time. I only hope that these young ladies realize that if they love their Dad, they need to allow him to be happy in whatever form that looks like for him. Maybe they too will have those occasional times that they are together and can laugh, cry, and just enjoy each other. By the way.......my Dad's new wife was quite young, not very kind, but I wanted my Dad to be happy.

  • nrmo
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    First I want to say how sorry I am that you've had to go thru all of this. This is totally WRONG WRONG WRONG!

    However, I'm on the other side. I'm a step mom of mid thirty girls. Their dad and I have been together for 5 years now (married a year)...and he has gone from the guy that "hung out at the local watering hole" out of bordem, to one that enjoys everything about family. My husbands daughters (as they have asked me to introduce them as), tell me how much they love me, etc... but their actions don't speak that. They exclude me every chance they get...before we were married, they would buy him a ticket to an event and not include one for me, etc...we would take turns paying for dinners when we were out with them, again, they would buy his meal but not mine, etc.. but didn't have any problem with me picking up the tab for them when it was my turn.

    One daughter has now had a child...she told me that she does not want her daughter calling me grandma...that I had to come up with a different name. A few weeks ago we were all visiting her work (include the little one) and I was playing with the little one and she was giggly, etc... my husbands daughter's boss commented "boy, she sure loves her grandma" I thought my husbands daughter was going to come unglued. She said "She is not her grandma, shes my days fiance', wait, that's right, your married now, she's my Dads wife". How sad I felt for her and I with that comment. I love that little one with all my heart, as she does me. What a mean thing to say.

    I have never had any arguments with the daughters at all. I give them full access to their dad, etc... I had a great relationship with my Daddy, so no one understands their relationship better than I, and I encourage them to see him alone, etc. I have even tried to schedule things one on one between just us, so I can get to know them better, and when I am with them, all they do is complain about being the "product of divorce, how the man I know is not the man that raised them, etc...". My husband divorced their Mom when they were 5 and 8 and was very active in their lives. He admits he made mistakes (and so did his X, but he has never shared those mistakes with the girls, he said he didn't want them to think badly of their mother...so he's taking all the blame for the failed marriage.), but he said he wants to look forward, not back. I understand that. I try to have compassion for the girls, but they do not make it easy. I have loving relationships with 4 boys from a previous relationship of mine, my friends kids, people at work, etc... Everyone says they are luck to have me in their lives, but they don't seem to think so.

    Its very heartbreaking. I do not want to replace their Mom, but I do love them and want them to be happy. However, I don't want to feel like crap anymore, and that is the way they make me feel.

    Please help me understand WHAT I can do to make this situation better. I'm willing to try anything...as I'm not one for giving up. Love and blessings to you.... (PS wish you were my stepdaughter...you sound amazing!)

  • wrn2004
    7 years ago

    NRMO- After you have tried everything, while you don't want to give up...sometimes giving up is the best thing you can do. Do you want to be married to your husband for the rest of your life? If so, stop trying to win over the adult children, they are not kids, but adults who make decisions and some we stepmoms may never understand. I think that I tried everything and one stepdaughter said that she didn't like how pushy I was. Ouch....I offered her a place to stay in one of my rentals while she went to college at a greatly reduced rate. I thought I was being loving, she didn't think so. I had to completely disengage from them in anything that I would do similar to my own children. They did not appreciate anything that I tried to do. Since that time, things are much better. I don't have them on my facebook, my phone or anything day to day. Their Dad is their contact person and it works GREAT for all of us. No hurt feelings, no misunderstandings, When we get together things are calm because we "expect" nothing from each other......and if your steps need to find fault with someone and you eliminate yourself from that arena, they find someone else to target. I find that some people like drama and are just plain toxic to be around. Unfortunately, too many times the stepmom is the target. By the way, I would like to offer, please stop getting your feelings hurt when they exclude you....they have a mom and dad, and we aren't them. Focus on the other children in your life. I shower my own children and grands with every ounce of love I can muster.....it is so rewarding and I think that the steps are just missing out and that's fine. You can't control them, nor they you....just accept you are Dads wife, nothing wrong with that. Come up with a name for yourself that don't minimize the bio grandmother (immature for sure, but if that takes the strain off you, then so be it). Perhaps you could be nana, or something similar. My husbands ex is so vain the grands "can't" call her grandma. LOL! Once you decide what is important (your husband) and let everything else fall away, life will once again have joy for your. Also, just to say.....some adults feel that they are being disloyal to their bio parent if they enjoy the step parent. So, enjoy your husband and let go of everything else.

  • DaisyinGA
    7 years ago

    Nrmo, you sound like a very nice woman and I imagine your husband is grateful for the efforts you make to be kind and loving to his daughters and granddaughter. I am writing because you sound like a nice woman who loves her husband and his family and you are trying hard to do the right thing.

    It sounds like you are hurt that your husband's daughters have asked that you introduce them as your husband's daughters and that you are not referred to as their children's *grandma*. It doesn't sound to me like you want the title for the title's sake, or to make a point, or to stick it to the ex wife or your husband's daughters, but that you genuinely want to be part of the family, you want the feeling, not the title.

    If I were you, I wouldn't worry about whether or not they call you their stepmom, but want to be introduced as your husband's daughters. I also wouldn't worry about whether or not they introduce you as their children's grandma. Children love the people who love them, play with them, spend time with them. Your relationship with your husband's granddaughter will be what you make of it; she won't care whether or not she calls you grandma or something else.

    I also wouldn't worry about whether or not your husband's daughters call you their stepmom or not. My parents divorced when I was 22 years old and my dad married someone else. In my thirties and even in my twenties, I would never have considered myself anyone's "stepdaughter". And I would never have considered my parents' spouses as my children's grandparents. I would not have meant it to be mean or excluding, but simply that I think of a parent as someone who raised me as a child, not as someone who married one of my parents later in life. So stepmom, to me, would be someone one of my parents married when I was a child, someone who drove me to piano practice and to get my braces tightened, things like that. I imagine that technically a stepmom is a woman married to my dad, but it feels kind of odd to me. I didn't care whether or not my father got married again, so I don't feel that way out of resentment.

    You ask what you can do to make things better. It sounds to me like you are doing a lot of things right. Your husband's daughters tell you that they love you, they do things with you one on one, they share their emotional pain at their parents' divorce. I know you wish they wouldn't share that, and really, if they were women of poise, graciousness and maturity, they wouldn't. But at least there's some emotional honesty there.

    I'm sure you're a lovely, lovely woman and that your friends' kids, your coworkers, kids from your previous relationships really are lucky to have you in their lives. That doesn't mean that these young women won't have some complicated feelings about having you in their lives. Real family takes time to develop. Calling someone by a title is easy, the feeling takes time. And it's probably the feeling you want, not just the title. One year of being married to their father is not very long. And really, just because your friends' kids love you and your coworkers love you, that's a lot different than someone stepping into a family and becoming a second mom and grandma.

    Sometimes it's hard to convey over the internet what actually happens in a family. Maybe you're not really bothered by what they call you, who pays at dinner, or those types of things. Maybe it's their tone of voice, their body language, a thousand subtle things that are harder to describe over the internet and certainly a lot less clear cut. If they're determined not to like you, determined to exclude you, you won't be able to change that. If they're nice women who have complicated feelings about their dad marrying again, then over time if you are kind, thoughtful, considerate (that doesn't mean you have to pay for their dinner), then over time you may feel like another mom or grandma to them.

    I'm not there, you are, but to me it sounds very encouraging that they are open about not wanting you to be called grandma and not wanting to be called your stepdaughters but yet they say they love you. Sounds like they are not the kind to just say things they don't really mean. On the other hand, maybe they see saw back and forth between being okay with you in the family and not being okay with it, which is really awkward and unpleasant for you and probably for them, too.

    I wish you every good thing with your husband's family.


  • wrn2004
    7 years ago

    Daisy...I agree with what you said about being called stepmom, etc. I am fine with being introduced as Dads wife. That's what I am, it does not offend me at all. I didn't help raise my husbands children and frankly even if I did and they still wanted to introduce me as Dads wife, I would still be fine with it. As you have said sometimes it is just an awkward situation for everyone and we need to not take offense to everything that is said.

  • nrmo
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks wrn and daisy. Wise words from wise ladies.

    you are correct, it's not the title but the feeling., and their words don't match their actions. Every time they lash out, it causes me to withdraw from them more. They really don't have a great relationship with their mom, but you could be right that it is a loyalty thing. When they do it, it does hurt their dad, and breaks my heart. But, I will take heed and accept it all for what it is, or should I say isn't. Thanks again for your wisdom. Much appreciated. (I should have also shared that I have no children of my own, I guess that is what makes this even more painful )

  • dantebear_nb
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    First of all, I am just grateful I have place to express myself. Thank-you. Thirty years ago my father re-married. My sister and I were happy for him and had actually encouraged him to divorce my mother who complained about him incessantly and ofter said she hated him. Fast forward to today. My father is 90 and my SM is 78. I am 64, way too old to even have a SM, and my sister is 54. It has been a nightmare for me and my sister to deal with the 2 people who are my Dad and SM.

    My mom was her own kind of nightmare, but that is a different story. (She blamed my sister and myself for the divorce). But knowing my Dad now as the warts have sufaced, I bet he told her we said he should leave.

    And actually this whole wretched saga might have had an okay ending if my dad had ever had a pair!

    My father was a salesman and his way of getting what he wants is to get other people to agree to his assessment of things and then feel like all is well. He always tried to get me to say my SM was great. I never would because as I got to know her I couldn't stand her arrogant, entitled for herself, withholding from others stance. I'm sure my Dad crammed me and my son down her throat as well. AND, as I raised my son with gentle care and protectiveness and she raised hers with misplaced toughlove, I am sure she had contempt for my mothering as well. In fact she even said once at a gamily gathering, "well, I'm surprised he turned out so well considering how you raised him".

    This comment being part of her ongoing arrogant/superior/defensive personality.

    I really am writing to vent about how much I detest my SM and how much self-loathing I have for never finding the way to defend myself in the moment. Because lashing out later never works and I have never ever said an unkind thing to the woman..... I am also deeply enraged at my old man, whom I will say I have treated with kid gloves and kindness. He was a kind father, but in the last 30 years has not asserted himself with that woman and so my son, who hates them both, has missed out because my SM always manipulated him away from my son. Children know this. Yes, a SM is a person in need of consideration, but the original bio kids should not take a back seat.

    The final straw with my Dad came a few years sgo when we were discussing my SM's grandson. He was one effed up kid. I mentioned the time he, at three and a half, tried to choke my 18 mo. old. This was no minor attack. My son was choking when I came around the corner and had bruises for three wks.

    My father actually defended him by saying, "Do you know why he did that?" "Because he thought your son was a girl all the time before and then when he found out he was a boy, he felt tricked"!

    WELL ALRIGHT THEN! That was when I began to detest my Dad as well.

    My sister is mentally ill and lives in a board and care facility. She has horrendous OCD and thoughts that control her. These thoughts will not let her say "yes" to anything. Therefore she won't go with me to visit my Dad. My SM sees this as her being selfish. Really?

    My sister says "no" to visiting my dad, lunch out with me, food, and her own well-being........no matter how many times I explain this to my stepmother she doesn't get it.

    My father fell and broke his hip six months ago. NOW all of a sudden I am my step mother's best friend. Of course, he's not fun anymore! She complains incessantly about all the work she has to do and had to do getting him on medi-cal, keeping him happy, alive, keeping him on their bizarre diet, etc... And she doesn't even have him at home.....

    I took a risk and sympathized with how hard it is. ( I was the only one overseeing placement and money for my mom for five years and I got my sister into care and still deal with difficult visits and her money.) My SM said not " thank-you", but, "well you're 15 yrs. younger than me"!

    Oh yeah, that's right, I lost my job and five years of my life taking care of those women but what could I know?

    My SM has taken three vacations in six months since my dad went into care because she is so "stressed" and e-mailed me last week that she has now begun a romantic relationship with their lawyer. THE THING IS, SHE TOLD MY DAD! HE has dementia and now only gets that she has left him for boyfriends. He is distressed beyond belief and had called me in hysterics.

    So three days ago I e-mailed her and told her that I want no more contact ever with her, in any form. I shifted her e-mail address to spam.

    I didn't explain myself to her. She wouldn't care anyway. ....

    Years ago an acquaintance of mine said she knew my SM from a class they had taken together. She told me she remembered the day my SM came into class and announced that she had found her sugar daddy. It was my Dad who "had" money.

    Based on that alone, besides her ill treatment of anyone she perceives as a threat, I regret deeply that I didn't THEN cut her out of my life. And that goes for my dad too!

    My dad doesn't have much longer. I try to just focus on how much I loved him when I was very small. I keep reminding myself its too late to confront him. He allowed my SM to dictate his relationships with his daughters and abandoned my sister because my step mother convinced him she was spoiled instead of crazy. And who spoiled her to begin with? You don't raise a child one way then rip the carpet out from under him or her, especially since the spoiling was a misplaced effort to deal with her mental illness.

    I regret that my son has not had his grandfather in his life. But, more than that, I regret not walking away from my father and my SM thirty years ago.

    My son said to me recently, "The weak always protect the strong".

    And I would add, "Not defending yourself is the cruelest thing that can happen you".

    Thank-you to whomever reads my story and gets it.

  • wrn2004
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Dantebear_nb you sound very bitter and I am not surprised that you have issues with everyone around you. Maybe you need to take a hard look at how you view the world. You father is entitled to his happiness with whomever he wants, whether you like them or not. You get to do the same and it probably would have benefitted everyone if you HAD walked away a long time ago.

  • Sylvia Gordon
    6 years ago

    Please contact whatever agency it is in your state that investigates elder abuse. Holding you and your dad in my thoughts and in my heart.

  • wrn2004
    6 years ago

    Sylvia Gordon, unless I read something wrong....Dad is in a care facility???

  • Sylvia Gordon
    6 years ago

    Oops, thanks.

  • yeseye
    6 years ago

    We also have a stepmother from hell. For the past thirteen years she has done nothing but disrespect our father, myself and my sister. Well, today it ends as our Dad has passed and after the funeral we will NEVER have to have any dealings with her again. May I say to any woman where a man who has grown children is trying to encourage you to marry him, just say no. You won't like the deal. That man's adult children will NEVER accept you, as we could never accept this woman who came into our lives and disrespected our Mother's Memory and now she is disrespecting our Father's Memory. If you are a widower stay a widower, date yes, but don't marry. You will be doing your children a favor. If you are a widow, stay a widow. Date yes, but don't remarry. You will be doing your children a huge favor. It just hurts the children too much to have the intrusion of a step parent. Some people never get over it, so be careful who you hurt just to so called be happy.

  • wrn2004
    6 years ago

    Yeseye - you sound like a very selfish person. You would rather that your Dad be alone than have happiness once again. I would suggest that you re-read your post.....it is all about you and how you feel. Did you ever stop to think about how your Dad felt. He wanted companionship and love again and all you could think about was YOU and how you felt about it. How very sad that you couldn't give your Dad the joy of having a new wife and still having a relationship with his children without conflict. Why should a lady say no to marrying a man who has asked her and loves......because selfish children only want their own happiness and not their parents happiness. You don't have to ACCEPT his new wife, all you have to do is love your Dad enough to want his happiness. If Dad was so disrespected he could have divorced her, but he didn't....so this is just your view of their marriage. Sounds like you didn't like/love your Dad at all or you would would have embraced what he wanted no matter how it affected you. If you didn't like his new wife, then you needed to find how to fulfill your own life with happiness outside of spending time with them. He made his choice for a new life....you needed to be mature enough to accept it and move on, instead of harboring all those hateful feelings. What a sad existence to just wallow in self-pity instead of finding your own happiness, which is what your Dad decided to do.

  • ajnewheart
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Wrn2004- well said!!!!

  • ajnewheart
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Dantebear_nb - you seriously need to get a life of your own. Omg!! How sad-so so sad. Stay in your own back yard. Still shaking my head! You should be so busy enjoying your own life that you have no opinion. Omg!!

  • Sara Tilmont
    5 years ago

    So typical for the women to be fighting. And so typical for the men to be absent, big-hearted, out of touch, clumsy, passive and will do anything to avoid confrontation.

    Ask yourself this, as women: Would you allow your grown children to treat your spouse with disrespect? Would you allow your spouse to treat your children with disrespect?

    One example in the original post, was that the stepmother controlled every second of the father's time, and didn't allow him to speak on the phone with his children. How many women would allow a spouse to ban then from speaking with their own kids? Women who would allow this need to call an abuse hotline.

    As women, we are nurturers and protectors. We are fierce about protecting those we love. We can mediate, moderate, set limits and still show our love without preference. Everyone knows how much we value them in our families. Showing love to one doesn't mean we have to abandon anyone else.

    I think this list for stepmothers to adult stepchildren is a surface reaction to the symptom. I could write an equal list of directives aimed at adult stepchildren.

    The problem as I see it, is the difference between men and women, how we think, what motivates us, how we deal with family. We expect men to think as we do. We don't understand when they don't. And in their absence, we square off and attack the opposing females. Then the men are forever victims, "stuck in the middle", like big, fence-riding whiners.

    Disengaging is a great tool many females in step-roles use. It's next in line to being married to a man who can actually love equally, be fair, have expectations and boundaries for the people in his family.

    I disengaged several years ago. I went from unsuccessfully trying to have a relationship with my stepchildren, who made it clear for many years that they weren't interested, to losing interest myself. It is unrewarding and defeating to continue trying to have a relationship with someone who doesn't want one. No more fighting.

    Part of disengaging means I am also not responsible for reminding my husband of birthdays, initiating visits to see his children, encouraging him to call them, etc. He and they are on their own to navigate their own relationship. They aren't banned from our home and are welcome to come, they just rarely ever do. Nobody is to blame, it's just often how these stepfamilies go when they don't work for everybody.

    I find it better when we lower our expectations, accept the reality (or not), and stop thinking that our lives will be glamorous if we all can just be one big happy family. Being one big happy family is no longer on my bucket list. If it happens, that's great. Will be another nut on my sundae, but that's about all.




  • Maddi Smith
    5 years ago

    Wow, Yeseye. You sound incredibly selfish and narcissistic. Newsflash...parents have lives of their own and aren't responsible for the happiness of their grown children. You really think your father should be required to sacrifice his "so-called" happiness and companionship on the altar of yours? How pathological are you?

    A parent's moral and legal obligation is to support their children into adulthood and prepare them to make their own way in the world. Anything they choose to do beyond that is just that...a CHOICE and a GIFT. Not an entitlement.

    I have a friend whose daughters were like you. These 40+-year-old women pitched a fit when their dad met someone new after losing the love of his life (their mother) at 63 from an aggressive Cancer. They pitched a fit and were nasty when THEY (not the new woman...BOTH partners) started redoing parts of the house to make it theirs. They were incredibly nasty to this poor woman and put their dad through such guilt. He sat in my kitchen sobbing about it. He didn't want to lose his two daughters...but at the same time, he didn't want to be without a life partner for the next 20-25 years. He wanted someone with him in old age. What did they expect him to do? Keep the home like a museum to their mother? They barely ever came to visit him...they had their own partners and their own children. But they expected him to maintain a shrine to their childhood that they never came to see?

    Meanwhile, the woman who he fell in love with made him put all his assets in a trust for his daughters so there'd be no contention over that (he didn't have a ton, anyway...and she had her own income...but she wanted to allay their fears.) She made overtures to them...nothing. The couple felt stuck...but eventually my friend decided to marry her anyway, daughters be damned.

    They chose that outcome for themselves...he did not choose it, nor did his new wife.

  • Karen Peltier
    5 years ago

    Amen!!

  • evilstep
    3 months ago

    To Maddi Smith: you clearly have no clue at how destructive and insensitive and DIVISIVE remarriage can be when your parent marries too soon or the wrong person just to avoid being lonely! We still need our parents in our lives as adults as they deserve to live their lives—but when someone deliberately drives a wedge between a spouse and their adult stepchildren, THEY are the narcisist and emotional succubus! For 15 years we hardly saw my mother and my youngest child hardly knew his grandmother because of her third husband and his massive insecurities and alcoholism. And then she gotccancer and died and he lives in the house that she paid for and with all of her money—after not working one day of their marriage.